‘Underage Gambling, Dat Nuh Right’
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Please allow me to use this medium to share a first in Jamaica and the Caribbean’s history. This week, September 24-30, will be promoted as Underage Gambling Prevention Week.
As the gaming industry in Jamaica continues to grow, RISE Life Management Services, through funding solely from the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, is championing the efforts to ensure underage gambling is addressed islandwide generally and among school-based youth specifically.
The fact is that Jamaican adolescents currently live in an era of the most legal and socially accepted gambling environment in Jamaica’s history. With that said, this special week of activities is but one of the tools within our arsenal that we will employ in an effort to reduce both incidence and prevalence rates of gambling among youth that are under 18 years old.
From an anecdotal perspective, RISE receives calls from schools across the island seeking interventions for students involved with gambling. To be clear, the main types of gambling associated with schools are dice and card games.
The Ministry of Education and Youth must be congratulated for establishing and supporting the MOU which allows RISE ease of access to students and other school personnel islandwide in execution of our activities.
The first and only study done on gambling among adolescents and children in Jamaica and the Caribbean was conducted in 2007, which revealed that one in five adolescents were either a problem gambler or at risk for developing a problem with gambling.
Significantly, a follow-up study on adolescent gambling in Jamaica is currently being executed and will yield data for comparison and programme development. Both studies were funded by the BGLC who has been decisively proactive in its approach to underage gambling prevention and responsible gambling.
Underage Gambling Prevention Week seeks to incorporate preventive activities within schools and communities as we ensure greater awareness among adults, adolescents and children about the consequences of underage gambling as well as the solutions.
The theme for the week is ‘Underage Gambling, Dat Nuh Right’. This is taken from the winning jingle in our underage gambling prevention jingle competition 2023 and the awards ceremony will take place during this groundbreaking week.
Finally, the RISE/BGLC Programme for the Prevention, Treatment and Research of Gambling Disorders and Responsible Gambling in Jamaica is the benchmark for the Caribbean. As data has shown, the earlier the onset of gambling activity increases the likelihood of developing a gambling problem in adulthood.
RISE through the BGLC will continue to develop and initiate innovative and dynamic programmes, resources and activities aimed at preventing underage gambling among our adolescents.
RICHARD HENRY, M Sc
Psychology – Counselling
Responsible Gaming Counselling
& Support Services
RISE Life Management Services